7 Important Things About Stalking Your Campus Needs to Know

What You Need to Know About Stalking

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 17 December 2015 |

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campus stalkingSexual violence on campus is a serious problem with many facets. Previously, we covered how higher education campuses can address dating and domestic violence and answered some frequently asked questions about date-rape drugs.

Now, we are going over what higher education institutions need to know about stalking.

What is Stalking?

Stalking is a form of harassment. It consists of repeated threats that cause a person to feel fear. Some of the things a stalker might do to the person they are targeting include:

  • Following or spying on them
  • Sending unwanted gifts
  • Gossiping or spreading rumors about them
  • Damaging their property
  • Breaking into their online accounts
  • Harassing the person on social media

How Common a Problem is Stalking?

The National Center for Victims of Crimes fact sheet states that “one in six women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime.”

And according to a report on the prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 60.8 percent of female stalking victims and 43.5 percent male victims reported being stalked by a current or former intimate partner.

College students aren’t immune from stalking. In fact, Patrick Brady, M.A. and Leana Bouffard, Ph.D. from The Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University found that college students are actually more likely than the general public to be stalked and less likely to report it to the authorities.

But that doesn’t mean stalking isn’t just something for students to be aware of. Faculty, administrators and staff need to understand what to do if they witness or experience stalking.

What SHOULDN’T Stalking Victims Do?

Stalking is extremely series. And if someone is stalking you, remember NOT to do any of the following:

  • Don’t assume it will stop on its own
  • Don’t ignore a potential problem
  • Don’t try to handle it yourself
  • Don’t engage or confront the stalker

What Can You Do If You’re Being Stalked?

There are things you should do if you’re being stalked. This includes:

  • Keeping evidence of the behavior to show to the authorities
  • Get a new phone number to help restrict contact and immediately add it to any applicable “do not call” lists (to prevent it from being shared publicly)
  • Take down your personal information from any public places or websites, such as whitepages.com, etc.  (It’s surprising how easy it can be to find a home address or phone number with only a few key pieces of information about a person)
  • Seek help from the police, your school and/or victims’ rights groups

What Can You Do If a Friend or Someone You Know is Being Stalked?

One of the ways to make your campus a safe place is to encourage bystander intervention. So if a friend or someone you know if being stalked here are some ways you can step in to help:

  • Watch out for the stalker when you are with the person
  • Help the person leave a place if they spot their stalker
  • Offer to provide transportation or walk with them so they’re not alone
  • Encourage and go with the person to report the stalking to the authorities

What Should You Do If You Are the One Stalking?

If you start to notice these negative behaviors in yourself:

  • Stop the unwanted contact immediately
  • Find help to help manage your feelings and impulses
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes when making decisions you aren’t sure would be perceived as stalking

How Can Schools Help to Prevent Stalking?

Title IX, VAWA and the Clery Act require schools that receive federal funding to offer sexual violence prevention programs and training. And the training offered should be comprehensive.

From their research on stalking, Brady and Bouffard make the point that sexual violence prevention training should emphasize stalking awareness and give learners the skills they need to navigate potentially dangerous situations.

To learn more about our Student Empower training that offers guidance on a variety of issues college students face—including sexual violence and stalking—fill out the form on the right.

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